PHOENIX - Running its non-conference record to 6-2 with a fourth straight victory, a resilient Whitman College men's basketball team overcame Iowa's Simpson College 81-76 in overtime Tuesday night at the Cactus Jam Hoop Classic in Phoenix, Ariz.
"This is our biggest win of the season," Whitman coach Eric Bridgeland said. "We fought through some major adversity and overcame."
Whitman led 39-31 at halftime and then pushed its advantage into double digits, but Simpson rallied when injuries sidelined Missionaries Josh Duckworth (ankle sprain) and Justin Artis (chin laceration) for parts of the second half.
After a missed free throw cost Whitman a chance at victory in the final seconds of regulation, Duckworth and Artis played key roles in the five-minute overtime session.
Playing on a bad ankle, Duckworth finished with 20 points, six rebounds and six assists. Artis hit his only 3 of the night near the end of overtime to clinch the victory.
"It's really something when a young team loses a lead, faces injury and foul trouble, and perseveres to find a way to overcome it," Bridgeland said.
Simpson, an NCAA Division III member of the Iowa Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, saw its season record fall to 4-7.
Complete statistics for the game were not yet available.
Whitman visits California's University of Redlands at 5 p.m. Thursday.